Mississippi State 8-4, 0-0 SEC at Vanderbilt 9-5, 0-1 SEC Date: Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011 Time: 7 p.m. Location: Nashville, Tenn. Venue: Memorial Gymnasium (14,168) Radio: vucommodores.com TV: None Webcast: vucommodores.com Series: Vanderbilt leads 29-14 Last Meeting: Feb. 24, 2010 (Miss. State 65 - Vanderbilt 56, Nashville)
Vanderbilt will look to bounce back from two heartbreaking losses on Thursday when the Commodores host Mississippi State at 7 p.m. CT at Memorial Gymnasium. Vanderbilt is 9-5 overall and 0-1 in the SEC after losing 72-67 at Ole Miss on Sunday. Thursday's game will be the SEC opener for Mississippi State, who is 8-4 overall and has not played since losing in overtime at Lehigh on Dec. 30.
The Commodores are coming off of two straight losses in which they had leads of 17 points (Virginia Tech) and 18 points (Ole Miss) fall by the wayside. Vanderbilt will look to get back on track at home, where the team is 7-0 compared to just 1-5 on the road.
At halftime of Vanderbilt's game against Mississippi State, there will be a special performance by the Russian Bar Trio. Thursday's game begins a two-game home stretch for the Commodores who will host Auburn at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets to attend either game are $10 and may be purchased on vucommodores.com, over the phone by calling 615/322-GOLD or in person the day of the game at the Memorial Gym box office.
Vanderbilt will not only be looking to end a two game losing skid of its own, it will also be looking to halt a streak of three straight losses to MSU. Vanderbilt's last win against the Bulldogs came Jan. 10, 2008.
Due to the MTSU bowl game taking place at the same time, Thursday's Vanderbilt game will air only on VUCommodores.com with play-by-play announcer Charlie Mattos on the call. Fans may watch and listen to the games online by subscribing to All-Access on VUCommodores.com.
Last Time Out For the second game in a row Vanderbilt saw its double-digit lead evaporate as Ole Miss rallied from 18 points down to top the Commodores 72-67 on Sunday in the SEC opener for both teams.
The loss dropped Vanderbilt to 9-5 overall and 0-1 in the SEC, while Ole Miss improved to 8-5 overall and 1-0 in the SEC. Vanderbilt had won four straight SEC lid-lifters before Sunday.
With shades of its loss at Virginia Tech -- in which the Commodores lost a 17-point lead --still lingering, Vanderbilt looked as if it was well on its way to putting the loss to the Hokies in its rear-view mirror. The Commodores built an 18-point lead in the first half against the Rebels and took a 16-point lead into the locker room. But just like against Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt was unable to slow down the second-half charge by the Rebels.
Ole Miss began the second half on a 16-6 run to pull within six, 46-40, with 16:15 to play, and for a short period, it looked as if that would be as close as the Rebels would come. Vanderbilt would score the next six points to extend its lead to 12, 52-40.
However, the Rebels would slowly chip away at Vanderbilt's lead and eventually take a 57-56 lead with 5:09 to play. The lead was Ole Miss' first since holding a 6-4 advantage with 17:49 to play in the first.
A basket by Jence Rhoads would give Vanderbilt the lead again at 58-57, but that would be the last time the Commodores would lead as Ole Miss went on an 8-0 run to take a 65-58 lead, which would prove to be too much to overcome.
About Mississippi State The Bulldogs had a bye the first weekend of SEC play and enter their game at Vanderbilt after a week off following 68-59 loss at Lehigh on Dec. 30. Mississippi State has won five of its last seven games. Thursday's game will be MSU's fourth away from home in its last five games.
The Bulldogs have had Vanderbilt's number as of late. Vanderbilt has dropped three straight to Mississippi State with its last win coming Jan. 10, 2008 in Nashville (72-50). The Commodores were swept last year by the Bulldogs.
Mississippi State finished 21-13 overall, 9-7 SEC and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament last year.
Vanderbilt leads the all-time series 29-14 and is 16-2 at home against MSU. Head Coach Melanie Balcomb is 5-4 against Mississippi State and 3-1 against the Bulldogs at home. The Bulldogs are one of five SEC teams Vanderbilt will play twice this season.
Vanderbilt in SEC Home Openers Vanderbilt has won seven straight SEC home openers with the last loss coming Jan. 16, 2003 against South Carolina (66-57). The game was also the first SEC home game for Head Coach Melanie Balcomb. The loss marked the last time Vanderbilt started league play 0-2.
Tale of Two Halves Two games in a row Vanderbilt has blown double-digit leads in the first half. Vanderbilt blew a 17-point lead at Virginia Tech and an 18-point lead at Ole Miss. In both losses, the opposing team has shot better than 54 percent from the floor in the second half.
Tuomi Among NCAA Leaders Senior Hannah Tuomi has been extremely accurate from the floor this season. Tuomi ranks fourth in the NCAA with a 63.5 percent field-goal percentage. Tuomi has made 73-of-115 attempts.
Double-Double Times Two ... Again For the second time this season Vanderbilt had two players notch double-doubles in the same game. On Dec. 30 against Virginia Tech Hannah Tuomi and Stephanie Holzer posted double-doubles. Both had 11 points, while Holzer had a career-high 12 rebounds and Tuomi had 11.
Elan Brown and Tiffany Clarke posted double-doubles in Vanderbilt's win against Quinnipiac. Brown and Clarke's double-doubles marked the first time two players had double-doubles in the same game since Nov. 14 2007 when Jennifer Risper and Christina Wirth had double-doubles at Indiana State.
Commodores Go Cold Vanderbilt leads the SEC three-point percentage and free-throw percentage, and rank second in field-goal percentage. However as of late, the Commodores have been misfiring at their highest rate to date. The team's three lowest shooting percentages have come in their last four games. Vanderbilt's cold shooting has most recently come in the second half of the last two games where the team shot 35.5 percent against Ole Miss and 35.0 percent against Virginia Tech.
Bumpy Road After starting the season 0-3 on the road for the first time since the 1998-99 season, Vanderbilt earned its first road win on Dec. 19 at Duquesne. However, VU dropped to 1-5 on the road with losses at Virginia Tech and Ole Miss. VU is averaging 80.3 points per game in seven home games and 69.0 points per game in six road games. The 1-5 start on the road is the team's worst since posting the same mark in 1998-99.